Duck & Penguin Do Not Like Sleepovers (Julia Woolf)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Duck & Penguin Do Not Like Sleepovers by Julia Woolf, the return to the reluctant playmates from Duck & Penguin Are Not Friends.

Bestest pals Betty and Maud are back… along with their beleaguered stuffies (Duck and Penguin, respectively). While Betty and Maud adore each other’s company, Duck and Penguin are no closer than they were in the first title – to be blunt, they despise one another. So as Betty and Maud prepare for a camping sleepover by setting up their tent, cozying into pajamas, and sipping fizzy sodas, Duck and Penguin are busy silently fighting, scowling, and sabotaging each other. Yet when the girls need to run inside for a potty break – leaving the toys behind – the noises and darkness of the night cause them to cuddle a little closer, despite their differences.

Silly fun. Once again, this unique tale of anti-friendship draws a great deal of comedy from the animosity between the titular characters. The matter-of-fact narration, infectiously joyful voices of the girls, and expressive illustrations of the toys work together perfectly to sell Duck and Penguin’s predicament, as well as the scary (but not too scary) nighttime elements that help bring them together – including a genuinely hilarious final spread. This one is less a lesson in unlikely friendship and more a straightforward comedy, and it works all the better for it; Duck and Penguin’s reconciliation is hinted at on the endpapers, but isn’t included in the narrative. The length is perfect, JJ was giggling all the way through, and this was just a lovely, entertaining read – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Duck & Penguin Are Not Friends (Julia Woolf)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Duck & Penguin Are Not Friends by Julia Woolf.

Betty and Maud are the best of friends. They love to do everything together: playing on the swings, painting, making sandcastles, baking, playing pretend. They love spending time together so much that they always bring along their favorite toys, Betty’s Duck and Maud’s Penguin, to enjoy the day with them. One problem though: Betty and Maud are having so much fun, they fail to notice that Duck and Penguin DESPISE each other. From nasty tricks to all-out brawling, the two toys couldn’t be having less fun being forced to spend time together. However, when the girls propose a game of baby dolls (with the miserable pets as the babies), the two might find something in common after all.

This one was interesting – it had a very unique take on friendship, perhaps even caregivers who try to force little ones to play together. Truth is, some people just don’t get along; they may find shared interests or opinions, but even people who love the same thing can have different personalities (ask anyone who has had an awkward hangout with their best friend and significant other). I liked this point, because there aren’t a lot of picture books that tackle it. However, this made the abrupt change of heart that the toys had after discovering their shared hatred of being “baby dolls” (another clever nod to caregivers who may force certain roles on their kiddos). The two go so quickly to happily playing together that I actually checked to make sure I hadn’t skipped a page. This also depicts them as having gotten over their literally violent distaste for each other, again, very quickly. While it’s a positive ending, it didn’t feel like it fit the previously established tone, and part of me wishes that the toys had used this bridge to simply agree to be civil, rather than become BFFs as well. After all, some people just don’t get along, but that’s OKAY. Still, the illustrations are very cute, especially the toy’s tattered, well-loved appearances, the length is great, and JJ enjoyed it fine. So while the ending may not have been to my taste, this is still a fun read. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)